Quick, what are the symptoms of a stroke? You must know this to save your brain or the brain of someone you love! For years, neurologists have been encouraging people who might suspect they are having a stroke to seek emergency care as fast as possible. Time is brain, they say.
That message has been reinforced in JAMA (June 2, 2020). Investigators studied more than 60,000 Medicare patients who had strokes caused by blood clots.
Those who were treated with clot-busting medicine for strokes within 45 minutes of arrival of an ER had better outcomes. They were less likely to die or be readmitted in the following year.
The authors encourage their colleagues to continue striving to shorten door to needle time. That means 1) quick diagnosis and 2) fast treatment. Sitting in an emergency room for two or three hours will not save your brain tissue from some destruction.
What are the Symptoms of a Stroke?
Typical stroke symptoms include numbness or weakness, especially on one side of the body or face. Trouble talking is another classic sign. If someone starts to slur their words, that is a red flag.
If a friend or family member has a hard time understanding what you are saying, that’s another warning sign. Confusion, sudden visual changes or a really horrific headache can also be tipoffs to stroke.
There is an interesting test you can try. If a person is acting a bit strangely, ask him to raise both hands over his head simultaneously. If one hand begins to come down, that could be a tip off that something bad is happening inside the brain. Dizziness, lack of balance, poor coordination that comes on suddenly and causes trouble walking are other possible signs of stroke.
Stroke Symptoms Can Be Hard to Diagnose:
When a patient shows up in an emergency room with a few of the symptoms listed above, most emergency physicians would hopefully suspect a stroke. But sometimes a stroke can present with unusual symptoms.
Today we heard from a friend who is a doctor that her father (who is also a physician) was misdiagnosed with sinus problems instead of stroke. So, even very smart physicians can can miss a stroke diagnosis.
Dizziness can be caused by lots of things. Learning how to interpret eye movements to identify a stroke in progress requires great training. It is essential to save your brain from harm.
Listen to the Experts Teach you How to Save Your Brain!
If you would like to listen to two amazing stroke experts, we have free podcasts for you. Listening now, when you are healthy, could save your brain in an emergency. Here are links to these two podcasts:
Show 1201: Hard-to-Diagnose Conditions Can Be Deadly
Hard-to-diagnose conditions include sepsis and stroke. They can be extremely dangerous, even lethal. Learn what signs could be red flags for fast action.
Show 1186: What Happens When Doctors Make Diagnostic Errors?
No one knows quite how many diagnostic errors doctors make each year, but the number is high. Some have serious or deadly consequences.